Big Lake P op. 3,947 Alt. 2,678

General -

Community developed with building of Orient Railroad in 1911; served as marketing and ratail center for surrounding cattle and sheep ranches. The University of Texas owned much of rather arid grazing land around Big Lake where, in 1923, a large oil pool was discovered with the Santa Rita No. 1. The discovery made the University of Texas one of the richest schools in nation. Today Big Lake is the seat of Reagan County; name dreived from large, shallow depression to the south that forms a broad, shallow lake during rare wet seasons.

Old Courthouse -

Northwest about 12 miles, among flat tablelands and low hills, two-story building of native stone in community of Stiles, county seat at turn of century. When large landowner refused to let railroad cross his property, the line built through Stiles and Big Lake withered.

Reagan County Park -

Large park area with community center, pool, picnic shelters, camping (with hookups), replica of Santa Rita No. 1. North of city via Utah Ave.

Santa Rita No. 1-

Actual well site with oil derrick and some of the original equipment used during gusher of May 28, 1923; 8,525-ft. well productive until 1990. Historical marker outside fenced site gives more details about the famous well that brought an era of prosperity to West Texas. Four miles west of town on U.S. 67.



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